This afternoon, I was buried in the depths of Chapel Street Bazaar hunting down props for a shoot. Amongst a pile of bone handled knives, I felt the sadness creeping back. My throat tightened and tears prickled. Like some tragic in a cheesy film I whispered, ‘I just wish you were here.’
Today, it’s been four months since my grandmother, Brownie, made her graceful exit – but you already know that.
Even though loss isn’t new to me, I’m struggling.
I still reach for my phone and dial her number, catching myself when it rings. I think of things I want to tell her but I can’t go and visit. And at night, I often wake at 2 am and lie there going over all her little details – from the ridges of her fingernails to the sound of her voice.
Apparently time is supposed to be a great healer but time just means that it’s been longer since I last saw her. When she first passed away, I loved looking at photos of Brownie or listening to the songs that were tethered to memories. But now I can’t do either because I miss her so fucking much.
And yet strangely, I feel that Brownie is very close by. I can’t tell you the number of times I have been aching for her and the song ‘Dancing Queen’ (the name she had for Mabel) will come on the radio. Or crackle over the speakers at the supermarket. I even heard it blaring from a pedicab as I ran through Central Park at dusk one evening with tears streaming down my face.
In the days after Brownie passed, I wrote about how I wanted to hold onto the perspective that death brings.
As life has returned to its normal rhythm, all that I learnt about living and dying hasn’t softened or faded. If anything it’s even more vivid. The week we spent by her side in hospital was so much more than a fleeting moment. It has forever changed me and the life that I want. And that really is the greatest gift a grandmother could ever give her granddaughter.
Grief is disorientating and unpredictable. It shifts and changes: sometimes it is heavy, sometimes it is light. But above all, I’ve realised there is no finish line – it’s just about finding a way to live with loss.